EPSRC invests £13 million in the future of maths

December 07, 2009

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced a new investment of £13 million to fund three new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT's) at the universities of Lancaster, Cambridge and Warwick.

These new centres are the first to be dedicated to mathematical sciences and are being created in addition to the existing 44 CDT's which were set up in 2008 with £250 million of EPSRC funding.

The CDT's will have close links to industry which will help to create a new generation of highly employable researchers. Not all maths students go on to become theoretical mathematicians; in fact many enter the world of commerce and industry and use their mathematical reasoning to enhance their chosen area of work. It is hoped these researchers will contribute to the long term scientific, technological and economic well being of the UK.

Maths is an important subject that has both a direct and indirect impact on industry and the economy. In many cases application of mathematical theory can occur even when this was not the intention. For example insights from stochastic analysis and scientific computation, which were conceived initially in theoretical terms, now form the basis of the PageRank algorithm used by Google to order the results of a web search.

The new centres will open at the beginning of the next academic year and will each train at least 40 students over seven years. In addition to developing an original research project, each PhD student will receive a formal programme of taught coursework to broaden their skills and enhance their technical and interdisciplinary knowledge.

Each of the three new centres will have a different focus:

Lancaster University - Statistics and Operational Research University of Cambridge - Cambridge Centre for Analysis University of Warwick - MASDOC: A CDT for the Mathematical Sciences
Notes for Editors

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects - from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering. www.epsrc.ac.uk

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is one of only 29 UK universities ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide, coming in at number 162 in the annual THE-QS world university rankings and is currently ranked top University in the North West in the all the national league tables. The latest Research Assessment Exercise revealed that 92% of Lancaster's research is recognised as world leading or internationally significant and some key areas of research are ranked top in the UK. Lancaster University is the top ranked university in the North and in the top ten of comparable universities according to the 2009 National Student Survey. Lancaster University has the only national specialist Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for Postgraduate Statistics. www.lancs.ac.uk

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209 and celebrates its 800th anniversary this year. Its mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. It is made up of 31 colleges and more than 100 departments that cater for some 12,000 undergraduate and 6,000 postgraduate students.

In a beautiful setting by the River Cam, Cambridge is famed for the architecture of its historic colleges but also for its wealth of modern research and teaching facilities. The University's reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known worldwide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.

Some of the world's most significant scientific breakthroughs have occurred at the University, including the splitting of the atom, invention of the jet engine and the discoveries of stem cells, plate tectonics, pulsars and the structure of DNA. From Isaac Newton to Stephen Hawking, the University has nurtured some of history's greatest minds and has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other UK institution with more than 80 laureates.

Cambridge's great libraries and collections housed in eight world-class museums and in the colleges are scholarly resources of outstanding international significance. Cambridge attracts the brightest and best students, researchers and academics from across the world, with a student population drawn from 135 different countries.

University of Warwick

Among UK universities, Warwick is a unique, and uniquely successful, institution. Despite its relative youth (it was founded in the mid-1960s) - it is now one of the UK's leading universities, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research and teaching, for innovation and for links with business and industry. In the last government Research Assessment Exercise, Warwick was rated seventh in the UK for research excellence; in national UK newspaper league tables, it has consistently maintained its position in the top ten; applications for undergraduate places currently stand at around 30,000 for 3,000 undergraduate places. Warwick's Mathematics Institute was founded in 1965 by Professor Sir Christopher Zeeman, and since that time has gone from strength to strength. The undergraduate mathematical courses at Warwick have the largest intake in the UK and are noted for their breadth, their innovative approach, the high quality of the students and high standards.

For further information: contact the EPSRC Press Office
Tel: 01793 444404 or e-mail: pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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